Finally! On the 29th of August the Reading edge library is officially opening at c.off. During three days we celebrate this new initiative through performances, public conversations and meetings.
Reading edge is a place dedicated to the field of knowledge processed by the labor of choreography, performing arts and performance of today – a place that sustains reading as an art practice constantly moving across legacies and territories. Reading edge collects artists’ books and other experimental forms of publications in various format and materiality, published by independent artists and art initiatives operating at the margin. These publications provide insight into a multiplicity of bodies, languages and technologies, here provided the possibility to participate in the making of a collective correlation.
One of the contributors to the library is the artist and writer Moa Franzén, who will also perform a reading together with Vilda Kvist during the opening. She has published the book ordbok/lexicon, that uses the form of the lexicon to discuss and perform the relationship between language, authority and hegemony by putting it at play through ruptures, repetitions, displacements and poetry. We asked Moa to tell us a bit more about this particular work, and the conversation circled around how text and body intertwine and the relationship between performed and printed text – topics that are central in her artistic practice.
What was the initiative for making this publication? How did it come into being and how did you distribute it?
Moa: The publication was part of my MA degree presentation at DOCH. I had been occupied with writing for and as performance, and wanted the presentation of my project to take place both on stage and on the page. The performance and the publication accompanied each other during the event – the audience was invited to enter a small reading room after the performance where the publication was placed. Since then it has been presented through performance readings together with the artist Vilda Kvist.
ordbok/lexicon uses the form of the lexicon to discuss the relation between language and authority. You write; “violence appears with articulation”. Would you like to share your thoughts on how you worked with the relation of power and language in this particular project?
Moa: As I experience it, there is always a relation between power and language – or rather, power is always in play in language. Language is a system and as all systems it requires submission from the ones existing in it. The lexicon is an explicit example of this. The form of the lexicon was productive for me to use, since it presents itself as an ultimate authority on the meanings of words and how to use them. It is a question of ownership, really. History and ideology come in here as well. The form of a lexicon is static and strict, which means every alteration or intervention will leave very “loud” traces, even subtle interventions will disrupt it. The form itself marks a voice that is productive to play with – will we believe it? Follow it? What is at stake when we submit to a language we haven’t created, but none the less are subjected to use to describe ourselves and our experiences. I wanted to interrupt, displace and dissolve the relation between authority and language, word and meaning, even between word and word, in an attempt to open up the notion of language so that it represents to ambiguity, playfulness and meaning as migrant and errant.
ordbok/lexicon is in its physical appearance small, about 10 centimeters, pink colored and very light, quite the opposite to the traditional lexicon which in addition to its metaphorical heaviness and power also has an actual weight. Was there a thought behind it, or how did you work with the layout of this publication?
Moa: The layout was made in collaboration with graphic designer Anna Giertz. I wanted it to have two covers, and appreciate that you have to move it to read it – turn it, flip it. Since the text isn’t very long, I knew it was going to be light – we made it small to maximize the amount of pages, wanting it to be more of a small book then a leaflet. We both wanted it to be small enough to fit in a pocket. Anna proposed the rounded corners as a reference to the format of the passport, another official, authoritative and violent “book”. The pink was proposed by Anna and I immediately caught on to it – it is a color that is negatively connoted when it comes to authority, since it is connected with femininity and girlishness.
You write; “silence the words we do not yet have”. You work in the borderland of literature and choreography. The body is very much present in your text; breath, voice, mouth… How would you describe your personal relation to working artistically with the respective body/text?
Moa: Yes. Well, in my work text and body is more or less intertwined. For me it is a way of trying to understand how language shapes and forms the body, as well as how the body can reform and reshape itself and its experiences as well as language. Both language and the body is subject to, as well as founding factors of hegemonic structures and ideological systems, and in my work I try to understand what this means, how it works, who I can be within it, what I can say, what saying actually means, and what kind of subversive potential there is – or could be.